So, last week when I was at the airport in Melbourne, I accidentally wandered into a little shop called The Chocolate Box. And, while I bought some chocolates for a friend, I saw a lady clear out a large number of bags (the entire range) of something at the counter. It caused a bit of a kerfuffle amongst the staff, I tell you.
When I asked the ladies behind the counter what the lady had bought in such dramatic fashion, they whispered, “have you heard of chocolate chips?” Errr derrr, ladies. I like to bake and I have a massive sweet tooth, there’s nothing I don’t know about chocolate chips. “We mean salt and vinegar crisps covered in chocolate.” Really? Yes. Apparently they are one of their best sellers.
So, today I bought a bag (ok, maybe two) to bring in to the office so we could experience this phenomenon. The verdict was mixed – but I vote YES for this snack food. A bit too much chocolate masking the flavour, but every now and again there was an unmistakable salty/vinegary kick. Like chocolate covered pretzels, only better, I reckon.
If you’re in Australia, you can stock up at The Chocolate Box. Or I guess you could make your own, if you’re so inclined. Chocolate Chicken Crisps, anyone? Anyone?
According to the good people at Haigh’s Chocolates here in Australia, it’s ‘Marshmallow & Coconut Season‘ from April to October. And that is indeed great news. I know they’re telling the truth about the limited season as I once went into their shop in Sydney looking for their rocky road (the subject of this blog & my vote for the best chocolate product in the whole wide world) and the young lady behind the counter looked at me as if I was a poor simple visiting from another planet. Very slowly, she explained: “Ummm…we don’t actually sell rocky road now, it’s just too hot for marshmallow’.
I can’t believe I had lived ’til that point without knowing about marshmallow season. But now I do and, from April to October, I do like to celebrate the season from time to time with Haigh’s milk chocolate rocky road (they also have dark chocolate, if you’re so inclined). I bought some yesterday – my first for the season, I swear – and was reminded again of just how awesome it is.
Haigh’s is a bit of an Australian institution for chocolate. According to their website, they are ‘the oldest family-owned chocolate manufacturing retailer in Australia’. Sure, that’s a pretty narrow niche, but I love that there are still Haighs running the show and churning out their amazing chocolate. They only came to Sydney relatively recently – when I was a wee graduate working at a major bank, it was a treat when one of the big wigs in our area went to Adelaide or Melbourne as he’d bring back Haigh’s chocolate frogs. Good times.
Anyways, if you are in Australia during Coconut & Marshmallow Season and you haven’t tried Haigh’s rocky road, I reckon you definitely should. You have until the end of October, peeps. Enjoy! (You can also have a calorie-free look at their website here if you’re from another land…or if you’re in Australia, but you don’t like delicious chocolate.)
A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show with some of my peeps. I love the Show, but hadn’t been for many years. It was a very fun day – adults have full permission to act like kids, everyone consumes waaaay too much junk food and suddenly us city folk become instant experts in everything from dairy cattle to alpacas to bull riding and cake decorating. And then there are the infamous show bags.
With security guys outside each entry and exit point of the giant Showbag Pavillion and a maze of fences and railings to herd people through the entrance (just like the cattle in the pavillion down the street), the kids are always a-buzz and the adults are all exchanging looks of dread. Inside, it was crazy. A mass of humanity, hundreds and hundreds of people of all shapes & sizes crammed in together trying to get a showbag and get out. Except for those people who stopped in the middle of the traffic, just gazing from one display to another, philosophising over the relative merits of the My Little Pony showbag over the Moshi Monsters showbag. No one likes those amateurs – they generally get a sharp elbow in the ribs to jolt them out of their reverie and encourage a quick decision. (I didn’t do any elbow-ing, I promise.)
Anyways, I did join in and get a Trolli show bag full of gummi treats – it was the only lolly show bag that included items that were so obscure that I couldn’t work out if the showbag price was a rip off. (My familiarity with chocolate prices had me scanning those Cadbury bags and saying wise old-lady things like, “$10? We could buy all that at the supermarket for $7.50. Outrageous!”)
So, I had a look inside the showbag this morning and discovered that lunch today was sorted – every detail taken care of by the good people at Trolli with my gummi lunch. As healthy and natural in gummi form as the real thing. Amazing. Bon appetit!